Just like daddy

Published 12:00 am Friday, January 9, 2004

Sports Center owner Wade Craig would be happy to tell you about the constant ebb and flow of the outdoor business.

Ask him to explain what trends have flourished or what fads have floundered, and Craig could begin at chapter one.

&uot;Going back 25 years ago the youth market was poorly addressed, but now there is an entire market for them,&uot; Craig said.

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Similarly, brands are finally finding their places among another, traditionally ignored, demographic: women.

Companies such as Mossy Oak and Browning that supply outdoor products and apparel to stores, such as Craig’s, are now tailoring shirts, pants, jackets, etc. to fit the female figure.

&uot;Our staff has noticed it. A lot of times (women) will walk in the store in their camo clothing,&uot; Craig said. &uot;They’re either coming out of the woods or heading into them.&uot;

A behavior that many feel is relatively new, shows no signs of letting up. In fact, as more and more fathers have taken their daughters hunting, the phenomenon has been nurtured into a habit.

Craig and area hunters said it used to be strictly sons with their fathers storming the woods, while the mothers and daughters held down the fort.

&uot;Once someone can introduce (women) properly to the sport they begin to like it,&uot; said Becky Nicosia, an avid hunter in Adams County and lifetime member of the NRA. &uot;When they can get custom fitted for all their equipment I think it becomes more enjoyable.&uot;

Craig said it is hard to pinpoint an exact date of when women’s interest in hunting started to step out of the shadows.

However, he is quite positive that for the last decade the orders he puts in for women’s clothing each hunting season continue to rise.

&uot;The thing about hunting with girls is they are a lot more patient than guys are,&uot; said Jeff Netterville, whose two daughters Summer Katelyn and Addie Grace hunt. &uot;My oldest daughter saw a 7-point running a doe and I said, ‘Shoot it!’ and she said, ‘No daddy, that’s too small.’ What kind of 16- year-old does that?&uot;

Summer Katelyn, a 10th-grader at Trinity Episcopal, has a right to be a bit picky.

At 8 she harvested an 8-point buck. These winter weekend mornings are her moments to have her father all to herself.

&uot;I don’t get a lot of time to hang out with him (Jeff Netterville) during school,&uot; Summer Katelyn said. &uot;That’s mostly our time to talk about things and be together.&uot;

Reagan White shares the same sentiments with daughter Taylor, 8, who harvested her first buck &045; an 8-point, as well &045; a year ago today.

&uot;At first she was acting like she couldn’t do it,&uot; Reagan White said. &uot;But she finally got the nerve, took her time and made a perfect shot. She was walking on air after that.&uot;

Just 11 years old, Hannah Gordon, a fifth-grader at Cathedral, has already seen and shot her share of deer.

While harvesting doe and a 6-point before, Hannah best trophy as to date is a 9-point she killed earlier this season.

&uot;I’ll get started and wait on a deer to come out,&uot; she said. &uot;I make sure it’s what I want. If it’s a smaller buck, I’ll pass it up.&uot;

Craig said: &uot;It’s not just a passive thing. (Women have) got a lot of product knowledge. They know what they’re looking for.&uot;

Jeff Netterville believes, for his daughters at least, hunting serves as a release. With undue stress mounting from the likes of school and athletics, letting their lungs soak in some refreshing air on a hunt is soothing.

&uot;You never know when they’re going to be ready to go. It depends on the child,&uot; Jeff Netterville said. &uot;They’ll pretty much let you know when they’re ready. They’re not as trigger happy as boys. They enjoy hunting and being in the outdoors.&uot;